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Story of Khadijah & Muhammad (series)

From a Noblewoman of Quraysh to a Social Pariah

Part 6: The Beginning of Da’wah

From a Noblewoman of Quraysh to a Social Pariah
Khadijah was a woman unlike any other – a fact recognized not only by her husband and those around her, but by Allah and the angel Jibreel himself.

The first few months of the Da’wah – the call to Islam – were full of wonder and awe. The Divine Revelation came to Muhammad (PBUH) not only in Hiraa, but in the home of Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) herself: she was the first to hear the Words of Allah on the lips of His Messenger (PBUH), the first to prostrate herself at his side, the first to stand up in prayer behind him at night.

However, no Prophet or Messenger was sent to remain silent, or to keep his Message a secret from the masses. Though a small and dedicated group of believers had formed, devoted to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), they were still a tiny minority – certain friends and family members who were already inclined to the truth, whose intellects had already questioned the poisoned beliefs and moral standards of their society.

After three years of quietly spreading the message of Tawheed (the Oneness of God), Allah revealed the following verse to His Messenger (PBUH):

{And warn, [O Muhammad], your closest kindred.} (Qur’an 26:214)

This was the command to announce Islam publicly, to declare it to his entire family – and to the Arab society at large. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the first to obey his Lord, no matter what the command, and so he fulfilled it immediately. The moment was a dramatic one, and life-changing for both Prophet Muhammad and his Companions, especially Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her).

One day, Muhammad (PBUH) ascended the mountain of Safa and called out to all of Makkah: “Yaa Sabahaa! O Bani Fahr! O Bani ‘Adi!” Alarmed, the tribesmen of Quraysh assembled before him, wondering what it was that was so urgent that Muhammad, the man whom they trusted above all others, felt compelled to gather them in such a manner.

“If I were to tell you that there were some horsemen in the valley planning to raid you, would you believe me?” Prophet Muhammad asked. Bewildered and already tensing at the implied warning, the people of Makkah confirmed their trust in him.

“Then know that I am a warner to you all, of a severe torment!” The people were silenced by shock. Raising his voice further, Prophet Muhammad spoke the words of his message – calling them all to believe in and worship Allah alone, to abandon the filth that permeated their lives, the injustice that they inflicted so cruelly and casually upon each other.

As Khadijah, her daughters, and the existing believers watched, Muhammad’s voice rang out over the hills and valleys of Makkah, reciting the Divine Words of their Lord in a way that made the earth itself tremble.

Yet the hearts of the Quraysh were harder than rocks that were scattered across the desert in which they lived. In a matter of moments, they turned on the man whom they had adored for forty years, and proceeded to try and destroy him and the message with which he came.

And Life Has Changed Forever…

From that moment on, Khadijah’s life was changed irrevocably: from a noblewoman of Quraysh, from one of its most admired and formidable businesswomen, she was now a social pariah. Her husband was reviled by the elites of society amongst whom she used to mingle so easily; derided as a madman, a soothsayer, or a crazed poet, he was mocked mercilessly.

Khadijah bore the burden of verbal and physical abuse as well, and was subject to the humiliation that her entire society inflicted with a particular vengeance upon her household.

Khadijah’s three eldest daughters were married, and the people of Quraysh thought it would be particularly effective to try and destroy their lives as well. Marriages were considered an integral part of social politics, and they gleefully considered the ramifications it would have upon Muhammad’s family if they managed to break up his daughters’ marriages.

However, their plans backfired – Abu’l ‘Aas ibn Rabee’, the husband of Prophet Muhammad’s eldest daughter Zaynab, refused point-blank to divorce his wife, whom he loved dearly. Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum, the younger daughters, were both married to sons of Abu Lahab, and were in fact divorced – but to their own relief, as their father- and mother-in-law were particularly venomous towards them.

Of course, Allah had something even better planned for them; shortly after, ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan – one of the greatest of Prophet Muhammad’s Companions, and one of the most modest, humble, and honest men of Makkah after Prophet Muhammad himself – proposed to Ruqayyah (may Allah be pleased with her). Thus, even in a time of trial and difficulty, there was still joy to be found.

But She Remains Strong

Despite it all, despite the agony of having to witness her loved ones publicly mocked and humiliated, despite experiencing her own sudden loss of social status and influence, Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) remained strong. Her faith was unshaken, and each increasingly difficult test merely reinforced her belief in Allah and fortified her character.

She was, after all, not a fickle woman – her heart and her intellect were both refined, and once she knew within herself the Divine Truth, she could accept nothing else. No matter what pain others tried to inflict on her and her family, she would never give them the satisfaction of seeing her give up.

To her daughters, to the vulnerable new Muslims, and to her husband, Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) was more than just a mother, a supporter, and a helper – she was a woman whose nobility shone at a time when her society cast her out. She spoke words of comfort and strength, provided a shoulder to lean on, and a heart to find joy in.

Khadijah was a woman unlike any other – a fact recognized not only by her husband and those around her, but by Allah and the angel Jibreel himself.

Once, as Jibreel visited the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), he paused and told Muhammad (PBUH), “Khadijah is approaching with food and drink. Convey to her salaam from Allah, the Most Glorious, and convey to her salaam from me, and give her glad tidings of a home in Paradise wherein there will be no loud noises or difficulty.”

“Allah Himself is as-Salaam, and peace comes from him. Salaam to Jibreel, the messenger of Allah. Salaam to you, and to all those listening, except for Shaytaan,” was Khadijah’s eloquent response… words as beautiful and full of wisdom as she herself.

 

To be continued…

 


About Zainab bint Younus

Zainab bint Younus is a young woman who finds constant inspiration in the lives of the Sahabiyaat and other great women in Islamic history. She hopes that every Muslimah is able to identify with the struggles of these inspirational women and follow in their footsteps to become a part of a new generation of powerful Muslim women. She blogs at http://www.thesalafifeminist.blogspot.com

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